Sunday, December 27, 2009

Honor your father and mother

My husband teaches me every day to be a better person- I know it sounds corny, but it's true. His mom stopped by our house today on her way home. I had left some herbs at her house last week, and she decided to bring them by. We didn't know she was coming, but the moment she entered the house, he offered to take her coat, invited her in for a cup of tea, and welcomed her. She asked for an extra hug because we "had left on Friday without saying goodbye" to her. Instead of being sarcastic or dismissive (as sometimes I am towards my dad), he apologized sincerely, saying he never meant to overlook her. Such honor! Such tenderness. I really do love my hubby, and admire him as well.

My dad was here for several days recently, celebrating Chanukah with us. Itried to take this as an opportunity to practice the 5th commandment (thanks to Lori P for teaching them to me in order-- I have taught several people and now will never forget!). I brought him his coffee in the morning, made him hot cocoa at night, and when he asked me a question, instead of staying where I was and telling him where the milk was or how to turn on the camera, I got up and did it for him, each time listening to the little voice in my head that said, "This is your chance. This is your chance to honor him by taking care of him the way he always took care of you." Every time I put his dishes in the dishwasher, cleaned shmutz up off the floor or table, I thought of what a privilege it was to be able to take care of my family, and thanked Hashem for all my opportunities to do so.

It made all the difference in the world.



  1. Oh this is so timely. The readings at church last night were about honoring one's mother and father. I could do a better job with my mom and I will try - no, will DO - when we are visiting her next week.

    My real issue is with Chris' parents. How do you do this with people you don't like? I need to make an effort for Chris' sake because he is caught in the middle. One of my new vows is not to complain about them online. But in person? I am polite to them (mostly), but boy in my heart I am angry, bitter and resentful. I don't even know that I want to let go of that anger.

  2. That's a tough one. I'm really lucky b/c I don't have such acrimonious (or pathological) family. I guess the only thing I could say is treat them like you'd treat any other mentally ill person. Be polite, try not to wake the sleeping bear, pity them in your heart, and give the anger to G-d to handle.

    Respect doesn't mean you need to forget all the cr@p they do. It means not being intentionally hurtful (for your own good, not because they deserve it obviously, because all that anger only hurts you- high blood pressure, high stress levels of cortisol, etc), and being willing to be the bigger person, walking away when the crazy begins (or continues, because I'm pretty sure it never goes away).